During lockdown, I’ll seize on anything to make the days seem a bit different, so here’s to celebrating a fun but frugal Valentine’s Day.
With so many things cancelled or closed, it isn’t possible to break the bank with a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a romantic weekend in a far-flung destination.
However, this year will be twenty years since my husband and I first met, and we figured we could still celebrate at home.
There’s a cliche that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Reckon that applies to me too.
Made a heart-shaped breakfast
Ages ago, one of my friends gave me a metal heart shape, a bit like a cookie cutter, for cooking fried eggs (thanks Di!)
I figured February 14th was the perfect day to dig it out again, so here’s my own fried egg and toast, while I added beans and bacon for my husband.
Considering we normally potter around making our own porridge in the microwave, I’m going to chalk ‘cooked breakfast’ up in the celebrations column.
Extra cost: 0p, as we already have the metal heart and eggs from our chickens.
Bagged some bargain flowers
Earlier this year, I spotted an offer to get two bunches of Freddie’s Flowers half price, so £12.50 each rather than £25.
I got the first bunch delivered to my mother’s house for her birthday, paused the weekly deliveries, then restarted the subscription in time to get the second bunch for me, just before Valentine’s Day.
The flowers arrived beautifully packaged in tall thin cardboard box, with detailed instructions about how to arrange them. The irises, white lisianthus and snapdragons were out today and I still have the oriental lilies to look forward to.
I also got some codes to give away free bunches of flowers, which I handed out over on my Much More Less #MoneySavingYear Facebook group (do come over and join us). If you’d like one, let me know, as I get four each month, which entitle new customers to a free box of flowers, while I get one half price. It’s a subscription service, so do remember to cancel afterwards if you don’t want boxes at full whack showing up every week.
Splashed out on a dine in meal deal
No chance of eating out this Valentine’s Day, thanks to Covid, but I reckoned we could still eat something good at home.
However, I rather liked the idea of fancy food with less cooking. I checked out various food delivery boxes, at mega mark ups.
However, the £15 Valentine’s Meal Deal for two from Morrisons seemed good value to me, and the Co-op has a similar £15 offer.
For that, you get to choose a starter, main course, couple of side dishes, a pudding AND a bottle of booze (or soft drink or chocolate).
There wasn’t a huge selection but I figured we’d be more than happy with mussels, steak with chunky chips and cauliflower cheese, and melting chocolate puddings. I went for the Prosecco as we’ve got some red wine anyway, and will add some green veg.
(Healthy eating restarts on Monday :))
Celebrated with whazzy cocktails
While I was checking out food options, I also discovered that Morrisons sell ready-made daiquiri cocktails, and couldn’t resist ordering a bottle.
This sent me straight back to both student nights in dodgy Mexican restaurants, and also those far distant pre-children, pre-pandemic days when my husband and I actually went to cocktail bars.
I reckoned £9 for a whole bottle of Funkin Cocktails Strawberry Daiquiri stacks up well compared buying a single cocktail in a bar (remember those?).
After not drinking since dry January, I figured I’d better pace myself, so we actually cracked open this bottle the evening before Valentine’s Day. I got sufficiently excited I mountaineered up our kitchen cupboards to retrieve the cocktail glasses and chucked around crushed ice and strawberry garnishes.
I reckon it tastes pretty good – not over sweet. Cheers!
Cashed in on NatWest reward vouchers
Best of all, I use a NatWest Reward current account to pay our household bills – which pays cashback.
The account does have a £2 a month fee, but gives you £4 a month if you have a couple of direct debits, plus another £1 a month if you check the NatWest mobile banking app.
That’s a potential profit of £36 a year on stuff I’d do anyway, plus you can earn extra by by swapping cashback for e-gift cards rather than money, such as 4% extra at Morrisons. Only limitation is that the e-gift cards can only be used in store and not online.
I therefore swapped £38.04 of NatWest Rewards for £40 in Morrisons vouchers – which more than covered our Valentine’s Day dinner and cocktails.
Now – over to you. What are your tips for celebrating a frugal Valentine’s Day, despite coronavirus? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear – and will toast you with a strawberry daiquiri!